Ever since I could remember, I had a plan for my life. Was it always the same plan- no way. I mean it went anywhere from a toy store cashier to an FBI agent. I really must’ve just thought I was good at everything. It wasn’t that I couldn’t decide, it was where was I going to enjoy my life the most. If we look at it that way- do we ever stop questioning that? I think that’s a healthy way of living. If we feel like we’ve reached the top point in life- then what’s the point of the rest? It’s good to always have dreams. Tell me. What happens if those dreams repeatedly get crushed? You would start to lose faith in your plan. Trust me, I’m speaking from experience.
If you have followed me on any forms of my social media, you understand that I have not had the easiest life. I’ve had pain, doubt, disappointments, failures, and utter despair. But that’s not to say I haven’t had happy times. But it has always hit me hard that it feels as if every one of my plans have gone downhill. Ever since high school. I’ve never actually been able to do my plans. Let me give you a quick run down:
I always wanted to go to VCU (Virginia Commonwealth University). I planned that no matter what, I would go away to college. Even when my health was going downhill, I still said I would go to VCU. The pain I faced when I realized I would be going to UMW (University of Mary Washington) and living at home was horrible. However, that was where I ended up.
I planned to have a remarkable recovery and transfer to VCU before I would graduate from UMW. Sadly, I didn’t have that recovery in time
I knew I needed a tough treatment. I was not going to make it through with a 2 week injection and some positivity. So I prepped for the inpatient program and got denied 4 times by insurance. I was then sent to treatment where I stayed in a hotel for 2 months.
I was extremely ready and excited to go into the FBI. I networked with some agents, toured facilities, and took every class that would get me a step closer to the badge. My plan was to get an entry level job and later go into the FBI Academy. I even interviewed for them when I went to treatment. You can read more about how that went here. However, I was wrongfully denied entry into the FBI when my condition affected the polygraph.
Now, I understand that this is an awfully negative blog for me to write. I know I’m miss positive (only sometimes)! But please, trust the process for this blog. I promise you, it’ll lead to the perfect place. I am going to explain how these factors lined up to where I am now- the absolute perfect plan. As if all the pieces just fell into line.
Sure, I went to UMW. I stayed at home. I didn’t have a single “typical” college experience. No roommate, no parties, no boyfriends, nothing. However, I ended up getting my service dog Rilee, became closer with my family, met some great connections through UMW, did more with my organization, became a crisis counselor, etc.
If this didn’t happen, I would have never become a crisis counselor (remember that). I would’ve struggled with paying more money even thought COVID still would’ve sent me home.
If I didn’t stay at UMW, I probably wouldn’t have searched for my lifesaving treatment. I wouldn’t have had online classes that allowed me to stay in Baltimore for treatment.
If I wasn’t denied, I would have been inpatient, which wouldn’t have allowed me to be as independent. I wouldn’t have been able to share my experience with people as I went through it. I wouldn’t have met many amazing people in Baltimore.
If I didn’t stay downtown due to the treatment stress, I wouldn’t have toured the apartments next-door. I wouldn’t have explored as much of downtown Baltimore. I wouldn’t have fallen in love with the city. I also wouldn’t have searched for jobs in that same area.
If I wasn’t denied by the FBI, I wouldn’t have moved to Baltimore. I would’ve lived in Richmond where most of my PTSD comes from. Family and friends wouldn’t be able to see what it looks like for me to be happy and at peace with life. I never would’ve built life-long connections. I never would’ve gotten the absolute, most incredible job for me.
As you can see, everything is a chain reaction. There are so many things that led me to where I am now. I am getting ready to move in less than a month to downtown Baltimore. I am moving into the very apartments I saw when I stayed for treatment. I am excited because I met so many kind people when I was living there. I am the most relaxed and happy when I am in Baltimore because it has become my healing place.
I have been stressing about getting a job because I didn’t know if I could do it. Could I work all day every day? What if the people are judgmental? What if they don’t accept me and my story? What if I don’t like it? What if they are ignorant to my struggles? When I tell you this job couldn’t be any more perfect. I was never that interested in anti human trafficking. I studied it some in undergrad, but that was it. But in all honesty, professors don’t cover that topic often. Who knows the reason. But I began thinking more about this topic when I was doing my typical search on LinkedIn.
There I was, same as any other day, scrolling through LinkedIn. There were very few jobs I was truly passionate about, but I was starting to get desperate. From the moment I left Baltimore, I wanted to go back. It’s my peaceful place believe it or not. Then I come across an organization called National Trafficking Sheltered Alliance. I never heard of it, but it grabbed my attention. I was just reading through the description and began liking all they stood for. Then I noticed they were a faith based organization and I figured I would go ahead and apply. I mean “it probably wouldn’t work out- but I might as well give it a shot”.
I know I wasn’t out of college and jobless for very long. Getting a job isn’t easy, but with each passing month you feel like a failure. I began to make a major mistake and equated not getting a job with my disease. If I wouldn’t get the job after interviews (which happened often) I would think it’s because I shared some of my illness. I work so hard to avoid telling jobs about it because I decided a long time ago it was my weakness. So I realized that as months passed, I began to think that they don’t want to hire someone with a history of chronic pain. We are all unreliable. Now I’ve never said this to anyone because it was something I was utterly mortified of. There I was fighting for my life for years and now that I can get a job- nobody wants the broken girl. Nobody wants the broken girl. Let that sink in. Remember someone like me with debilitating chronic pain sees wins as little and losses as major. I guess you could say another side effect.
When I got on for the first interview for NTSA, I immediately got a different feel. Almost that even though it was an interview, I wouldn’t be judged. So, I did the interview like usual. Then I got the question I try to avoid. “What is your foundation and how did you start it?”. Great. I thought in my head that this would be when I would fail. So I took a deep breath and explained. Of course, not my whole life story, but I said what I already decided would not get me the job. Then- something incredible happened. I didn’t see either interviewer bat an eye. There wasn’t a twinkle of judgment in either of their faces. Wow. These were people who didn’t see it as a weakness, but as a strength. I noticed my confidence went up and I could be completely transparent with them. Transparency is not easy for someone like me. I’m always guarding something- but how nice is it to let the guard down.
Fast forward to the final interview. I walked in with confidence because I was just Alexis. Not the girl with baggage most others see. I guess it’s not much of a spoiler to say I got the job. In only 4 weeks I will be moving to my dream apartment. I have never felt more comfortable at a job. It is something I am more than grateful for.
What else do I need to tell you? I don’t want to be that cliche person who says everything happens for a reason. But let’s be real, I am that cliche person. I don’t care if you believe in a religion or not. Trusting the process is key to living a happy life. Sure- shit happens. Trust me, you don’t have to tell me that. But it is there to tell you you are on the wrong path. So the next time you get a pain disease, or get screwed over by one of the largest agencies in the world, or don’t experience the tininess of a college dorm, remember- there are such better things for you. Screw it. You’ll get everything you want. Just give it time. 🧡